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Regime Change in Libya

August 23, 2011

So now the end of the Gaddafi regime seems more or less a fact, after several months of bombing by NATO forces, on behalf of the UN Security Council, to “protect civilians”.

I am happy to celebrate the end of his rule; though I remain anxious that what comes next may be difficult. National unity may be hard to achieve.

Questions remain however about the way this has been achieved, and only a fool would agree that NATO’s hundreds of sorties, supported by special forces on the ground, were genuinely flown to protect civilians. This was – and was early on declared by the most active NATO members – to be about regime change.

Does this make a mockery of the rule of international law, or is it simply a pragmatic way to use the international instruments available to achieve an outcome which offers an opportunity for Libyans to begin to construct a new polity?

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